Over the last few weeks I have felt that I have left my ‘real blogging’ by the wayside. By that I mean I didn’t have any observations made from various activity, comments and experiences that made me sit up, think and reflect. That’s because I have been closed up in a small 1-person meeting room (I call them “the vaults”) where I have been busy pumping out the final bits and pieces of the social onboarding program that I developed for branch managers.
It’s in the final stage of the project and ready to be rolled out to the business on 15 May with a great introduction via podcast by the General Manager of the business making it all official.
It’s taken some months to develop with much to and fro as stakeholders deliberated certain aspects of the roll out but I can tell you, it’s great to see a project through from start to finish. Yes, we did have people come and go, decisions go back and forth but ultimately, we delivered. At a time in many organisations with rapid change, I can’t begin to count the number of times projects have been ‘put on hold’ due to resourcing, cost and time.
In my work, I’m fairly organised and structured and plan for contingents. Maybe it’s my military background but I’d be lying that the constant change doesn’t irk me because I want to see a project through to completion.
But as it’s happening more often nowadays, I have come up with ways to deal with it and it usually involves the following four things:
- Ask constant questions (I have be told that I ask too many questions sometimes..Why? What if? How? What if? Geez, enough already Helen!)…
- Always keep the end goal in mind – it doesn’t matter how you get there
- When in meetings, say, “yes…and…” and not, “yes, but….”
- No one is going to die, be maimed or killed by your decision so you can calm down (ie put things into perspective please!)
I am reminded of a wonderful YouTube video called The Expert which is exactly what happens to me in EVERY meeting. The only difference now is what once frustrated me, I think back to this clip and smile.
This week I was invited to be part of a team to present Yammer to our internal staff. I always accept these opportunities to present or coach on the use of this social networking tool. During the presentation I explained how I used Yammer to connect with other parts of the organisation with people who had a mutual interest – using my new hobby learning to play the ukulele.
I used this angle because I half expected someone in the audience to ask, “why are you writing about learning the ukulele when Yammer is supposed to be about work related topics?” (thus trying to dispel the myth that social networking platforms are frivolous).
Luckily, they didn’t ask this. I wrapped my story around how we bring our whole selves to work and that we all have different interests in our lives and social networking platforms like Yammer, enables us to create bridges into other parts of the business and connect with individuals who have different knowledge, skills and experiences through a common passion, interest or project. By building these networks across our organisation, more innovative and creative ideas arise for us to solve organisational problems.
For me, whether it’s meeting someone new at a party, or at a community event who works in a different field and through conversation they give you another idea, tip, hint or solution you never considered before simply because they have a different experience or perspective is exactly the same as being in an online forum.
I don’t discern the physical and online world – they are one and the same thing for me. The only difference is that online there’s a ‘bridge’ between the people I’m talking to. That bridge is the social media platform or tool.
So if there’s any opportunity to show, coach, guide, share my experiences for how to build and create networks to broaden your own development, I’d happily share it. I am also interested in how to move these networks towards the creation of knowledge so that things may be built upon, rejigged and recreated hence my fascination for creation of communities.
As I continue to be involved in all sorts of different activities and projects, I am waiting for my own next ‘a ha’ moment to be able to explain and demonstrate the value of peer learning networks in a corporate context. My observations tell me that opportunities to get onstage do help but the biggest factor especially to an Australian corporate market and audience is simply to role model the behaviour, remain positive and share your work so that people WANT to follow your lead.
I know it will take some time but I’m seeing that big top down presentation of “do what I say and not as I do” won’t work anymore.
So where to for the onboarding program? Well, in all honesty, I’m interested in how the use of the social platform through and beyond the program will work out over the actual learning content per se. Don’t get me wrong. I do value the learning content – but I’m interested in how people will connect and create their own community around it – to start solving organisational problems, to start telling their stories, sharing their tips, connecting with others in the same role, showcasing their role to others in the organisation…
I think that will be fascinating because I’m already thinking of the next step in their role. “If they can connect with each other this way – the next step is to create external communities with their own customers in their suburb, community, neighborhood...”
This will be a game changer as I’m thinking of creating the ‘village’ concept locally.
But one little step at a time…